House HRA Bill on Fast Track Thanks to Boustany

Filed in Capitol Hill, Labor, Safety and Health by on June 17, 2016 0 Comments

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Rep. Charles Boustany (R.-La.)

After taking a leading role to unanimously shepherd NAHB-supported bipartisan legislation through the House Ways and Means Committee on June 15, Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) has worked with the House leadership to arrange for the bill to come to the House floor next week.

“NAHB commends Rep. Boustany for championing the Small Business Healthcare Relief Act of 2015 (H.R. 5447),” said NAHB Second Vice Chairman Randy Noel, a home builder from Louisiana. “This legislation will enable home building firms and other small business owners to help their employees with rising health care costs.”

The bill, which is also sponsored by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), would allow home building firms and other small businesses to provide Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), which let employers contribute something to their employee health costs. HRAs allow small businesses to offer pre-tax dollars to insured employees to help pay premiums and/or other out-of-pocket costs associated with medical care and services.

Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance in 2013 stating that employers are no longer able to use HRAs because they don’t meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Not only did the IRS make HRAs illegal, the agency decreed that all employers can face fines of $100 per day per employee if they offer this benefit to their workers. That can add up to $36,500 per employee over the course of a year and up to $500,000 per company. This $100 per day penalty went into effect on July 1, 2015.

NAHB has led the charge working independently and with a coalition of other business organizations to remedy this injustice by calling on the IRS to revoke its ruling on the use of HRAs and pushing for a congressional solution. The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act would reinstate the use of HRAs and rescind the punitive IRS penalties associated with them.

For more information, contact Suzanne Beall  at 800-368-5242 x8407.

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